Advanced Safety Measures for Food by FDA
Posted: Jun 12, 2021
If you want to know about the advanced safety measures for food by FDA, you are in the right place. Humans used food as medicine from ancient times, but part of it has now changed to poison because of the fast and modern living. It is the reason that over 48 million Americans fall six every year, 128,000 get hospitalized, and 3,000 die every year because of food-borne diseases. It gains significance as the US food supply contributes over 1 trillion dollars for its GDP each year(1). But with the seven rules outlined in FSMA or Food Safety Modernization Act coming into force in recent years, there is much improvement in reducing food-borne diseases. Hence check out the ailments caused by contaminated food and the many advanced safety measures of the FDA to control it.
The increasing awareness of food safety
Though food contamination was an enormous threat to humans from time unknown, it was not until the novel "The Jungle" published by Upton Sinclair in 1905, Americans woke up to it. The American public outrage over the horrific happenings in Chicago’s meat packaging industry made the US Government bring in the Meat Protection Act in 1906. It enabled the start of food processing audits and regulations to establish many food safety measures. These were for the processed food and the many ingredients and additives for preserving the food. Many food disasters were occurring worldwide, including the 1996 Mad Cow Disease in the UK. The human variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease until today stalls the UK blood donor supply industry.
COVID 19 and food safety concerns
Even though there is no evidence connecting the SARS-CoV-2 virus (3) and food safety, it had killed nearly 600,000 Americans so far. Hence FDA brought in advanced steps for the Safety of leafy greens as the first reports of the breakout E.coli 0157:H7 illnesses during fall 2020(2). The investigation findings on this illness linked to eating leafy greens in the California Central Coast growing region. Hence the FDA brought in an updated safety version of the Leafy Green STEC or Shiga-toxin producing E.Coli action plan to insist on the collaborative action for improving the Safety of the leafy greens. The FDA wants all leafy greens stakeholders to follow the vision outlined in the STEC Action plan to determine the cause of contamination that must have likely occurred to implement the right prevention and verification measures.
FSMA and its rules by the FDA for food safety
Congress passed the FSMA in December 2010 and became a law on January 4, 2011. But it took four years for the FDA to complete the FSMA regulations to be practicably applicable only in 2015. And all the food manufacturing companies, big and small, had different compliance dates with the seven rules laid down by the Act. For example, large companies with over 500 employees need to comply with 2016, medium companies with fewer than 500 employees in 2017 and smaller companies in 2018.
Non-compliance with FSMA rules
If you have a food processing business, big or small in the US, follow the rules stringently, failing which there will be criminal actions from the FDA. It will issue a warning letter and publicly publish it on its website when it first finds violations of FSMA rules. If you cannot comply with the warning letter, FDA officials may re-inspect your plant to ensure compliance. They will also charge you fees to cover the costs of the inspections. And if the contamination is pervasive, the FDA will issue a food recall order, and if the public hazard is high, they may even seize the contaminated
Dr Megan is a skilled Food scientist from India with 7 years of experience. Upon finishing touch of his PhD, he worked for numerous Fmcgs.